February 21st, 2019

Drug house shut down

By Lethbridge Herald on October 10, 2018.

Alberta Sheriffs investigators shut down, boarded up and gated a problem property that was a magnet for drug activity in north Lethbridge, Wednesday afternoon, following numerous neighbour complaints and an investigation. Herald photo by Greg Bobinec

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
A known drug house which had kept neighbours on edge for much of the last year has finally been shut down by the Alberta Sheriffs office following the serving of a Community Safety Order by the Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench.
The closure and shuttering of the property, which is located on the 1800 block of 7 Avenue North, took place under the watchful eyes of law enforcement on Wednesday.
“I think the neighbourhood has been very good and patient in understanding there is a process in how we have to deal with things,” said Sgt. Mark Smallbones of the LPS Priority Crimes Unit, which assisted the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) with the investigation which led to the safety order.
“These things don’t happen overnight, but they have been very patient in keeping us up to date.”
Insp. Mike Letourneau of the Alberta Sheriffs Branch also praised the house’s neighbours who first reported the drug activity and persisted in working with police despite the difficult circumstances.
“In May of 2018 we started receiving complaints of drug activity at this property, and it was an extensive volume of people attending this property at all hours of the day and night,” explained Letourneau. “Four very fearful and frustrated complainants contacted the SCAN unit to see if we could conduct an investigation. SCAN came out and did a surveillance on this property for a few days, and we saw in excess of 40 or 50 people in and out of this property, and about 15 to 16 drug transactions.”
Letourneau said a warning letter was sent to the house’s resident following that investigation, and when the activity persisted a drug raid was conducted using search warrant powers on the property in late June, leading to drug charges against the home’s owner and another individual.
The Community Safety Order was first issued by the courts on Sept. 25. In the context of that order, the owner will be shut out of the property for 90 days before being allowed to return. But Letourneau said he didn’t expect the owner to ever return, even under a peace bond.
“There is a strong opinion this property will be taken under a foreclosure; so I don’t ever expect this homeowner to ever step foot in this property again,” he said.
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